My best friend gave me some advice that I’ve tried to stick to and it’s that sometimes we all need to be selfish and put ourselves first. This advice would resonate so much during the coming months, more so than either of us could have imagined. With my breakup still fresh, and my first date looming, I was struggling to justify my actions. My ex was contacting me regularly still and was desperate for us to get back together. Although our breakup was mutual, he had come to the realisation that it was not what he wanted, whereas I had concluded that the decision was even better than I had first though. So when he came over bawling his eyes out and begging me to take him back, I had to be selfish. I stood my ground, and turned him down, and broke both of our hearts. I thought that would be the end of the emotional blackmail, but unfortunately I was wrong.
Saturday night. Date night. I was understandably nervous. After spending a much long than usual time fussing over my appearance and consistently trying to remind myself that I am more than my looks I prepared to embark on my first ever real date. I stopped in at my dad’s place on my way out for a bit of Dutch courage and some fatherly advice and then bit the bullet and went for it. It was going really well; he was charming, cute, intelligent and attentive. When the first bar we were at closed, he offered to pay, which I politely declined – I always pay my share, and we continued our evening elsewhere. We took it in turns to get the next few rounds and that’s when I had to be selfish once more. My ex messaged me saying he couldn’t sleep and he couldn’t stop crying. I had a choice to make and I chose me. I told him I didn’t know what to do and I was sorry, he asked where I was. I responded with a brave, although admittedly blunt “I’m out” and turned my attention back to my date. Sure, I felt a little guilty, but I was trying to move forward (perhaps sooner than I should) and we were getting along so well. The second bar eventually closed and after having spent eight hours chatting and getting along well I relented and accepted his invitation to share some wine that he had back at his place. Unsurprisingly, I found myself in the exact situation that I thought I wanted to avoid. Maybe it was hearing from my ex, or maybe I was just drunk enough to let go of the preconceived notion that sex on the first date was slutty, or maybe I thought getting back on the horse would help me keep moving forward. The reasoning didn’t matter. It happened and I have no regrets. Well, other than having to do a walk of shame to my dad’s house to pick up my car the next morning. That was an uncomfortable, yet amusing conversation!
I learnt my first welcome back to the dating world lesson the hard way. As it turns out, despite how perceivably successful a date may be, and even if both parties are clearly interested, doesn’t mean the boy isn’t a dick. I followed up my first date with a casual, “Thanks for last night, I had fun, we should do it again” message. About a day later I finally got a response. It was certainly odd and had a sterile, scripted feel to it – “I had fun too, but I’m not looking to pursue anything further. It was really great to meet you”. What? On one hand, I did really appreciate his honesty; it would have been much easier for him to just ignore me and never see me again. On the other, bit of a dick move; was everything he said and did on our date just a routine and a formality to get me into bed? I guess I’ll never know, but lesson learned – be a bit more cautious.
I had a good chat to my best friend about all of this and she agreed that it was a bit of a rude welcome back, but we had a good laugh at the new story I had to tell and the other 190 Tinder matches I had to work my way through. One week of being single, one great date, one rude lesson and one hundred and ninety matches – I’ve come back with a bang! (Pardon the pun).